This summer I am living and interning in Mongolia and I must say it has been the experience of a lifetime. Now, I know that phrase is extremely vague so I will explain why this experience has been so enjoyable, challenging and valuable for me.
I arrived in Mongolia not knowing exactly what to expect. I did not know what the infrastructure would be like, how developed the city would be, how I would be perceived, what I would have access to (food, internet, water, etc.) or what my experience would be like. I was pleased to find that Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, is very well developed. There are paved roads with lots of traffic, huge malls, restaurants, universities and many places to see and enjoy! The rest of the country varies culturally and geographically which, I have been able to witness through my travels. I have been here for a while so I think it is best to recap. My experience is best broken into 4 parts.
1) Ulaanbaatar- arriving in Mongolia, adjusting to the 12 hour time difference, planning for the study, exploring
2) The Gobi Desert- collecting samples for the study, no running water, enjoying simple pleasures
3) Erdent City- visiting a copper mine, getting to know 35 amazing students from Mongolia’s School of Public Health, fun times
4) Back in UB- data entry, making new friends, Naadam festival, teaching English, “never can say good-bye”
I will elaborate on each of these experiences separately in the upcoming blog posts.
Overall, I will say that I am very glad that I opened myself up to this experience. I have never been to an Asian country before and I was nervous about applying to spend 3 months in Mongolia. However, I did it and it has been very rewarding.
My word of advice: Opening yourself up and welcoming new and even possibly uncomfortable experiences is very important because you may find something in that experience that you did not expect and gain invaluable insight.
P.S: Here is a sneak peak; I’ve posted one picture from each of the four parts!